How did Afghanistan look before the wars June 20, 2017

In the 60s, this blonde attracted looks in a still very conservative Afghanistan.

In the 60s, this blonde attracted looks in a still very conservative Afghanistan.

But many people also wore nice western clothes in the 60s, too.

But many people also wore nice western clothes in the 60s, too.

Afghanistan had a modern military thanks to reforms by King Amanullah Khan in the 1920s.

A new car drives through a freshly-built mountain tunnel …

… and another stops at a gas station.

... and another stops at a gas station.
Dr. Bill Podlich
Girls and boys in western-style universities and schools were encouraged to talk to each other freely.

Newly-paved streets were flooded with new cars.

There was also a Girl and Boy Scouts of Afghanistan.

The country was undergoing a process of modernization …

… but much of Afghan culture retained its traditional dress and style. Even in Kabul, the bazaars remained the same as they had in earlier decades.

Here’s a more traditional stall …

… and a typical street scene.

Following World War II — which Afghanistan managed to stay out of — the Soviets and Americans competed for rights to build Afghan roadways.

Unlike today, roads in 1960s Afghanistan were well-kept and generally free of wear and tear.

Kids grew up in a safe environment, free of extremist influence, compared to today.

The villages didn’t look too much different back then …

… although new construction was everywhere.

Signs of prosperity dotted the urban landscape, showing off the country’s upper class.

The group of American schools in Afghanistan shows just how stable the country was once considered.

An official vehicle plies the streets.

Fruit markets stayed largely the same and became a staple of Afghan culture.

… as did fabric markets …

… and glassware.

Kabul’s classic architecture was maintained, giving the city a firm aesthetic and sense of identity.

Here’s another example of the city’s distinctive style.

Even so, there was much western influence in the newer homes and businesses.

Crowded lorries and trucks are still a common scene in the country.

A view of the mountains outside of Kabul in winter.

Women weren’t required to wear burqas — Afghanistan wasn’t quite as conservative back then. But some would still cover up by choice.

A traditional-style archway.

Elementary education, even out in the rural areas, was standard.

There was a widespread sense that opportunities hinged on education.

Children would learn in outside classrooms if they had to.

Children would learn in outside classrooms if they had to.
Dr. Bill Podlich
… although new buildings were always under construction.

Nationalism grew, as people identified with Afghanistan rather than with tribes.

There were movie theaters, libraries, chemistry labs, and on the outskirts of Kabul, large factories churning out a variety products.

Some historical buildings were in an excellent state of preservation.

People gathered in the streets for religious or cultural events without fear.

But while urban Afghanistan became modern, rural Afghanistan was still much as it had been decades before.

Afghanistan had a national identity, and a distinct national style, despite all the newfangled ‘western’ influence.

Tradition still reigned.

Yes, both rural and urban, western and south asian, it seemed all of Afghanistan …

… was on the road to prosperity.

The wars were in the future — but they weren’t very far off. When the Soviets invaded less than two decades later, it would hasten Afghanistan’s path towards becoming a very different country.

Share With Friends:

1 Comment

  • Dr. Khalil says:

    From the picture one can imagine that, the society was mixed up, there were were cultured, moderate, modern ultra modern segments in it. Some women are seen in skits and some are in shuttlecock burqas. Some parts of the country look highly developed and some parts look extremely backward. One can think of uneven distribution of resources or accessibility to resources was limited to few, like current situation in Pakistan. Situations like that very often give rise to social and economic disasters and push the country into a war consequently. That is all my perception, i could be wrong. If matters of equity are not considered, we may come to same conclusion in near future (God forbid)

Comments are closed.